Binding Wolves is Not Enough

Thorn Coyle @ Patheos: Confronting Empire

I hadn’t specifically considered that aspect of the story before, that the Aesir around Tyr are significantly responsible for Fenris’ reaction to being bound. In the retelling Thorn is discussing, it was not until the Aesir jeered at the wolf They feared that Fenris bit down on Tyr’s hand. I have a much more detailed understanding of the relationship between Tyr and Fenris than Thorn gets into there, but she is looking at the allegory, rather than the entities, so those details are not necessarily relevant here.

Relative to her allegory, I usually see the Aesir as Empire, and Fenris as a dangerous dissenter who is inclined to go too far in pushing against Them, thus putting other, more reasonable dissenters at risk. This reframing is interesting to me.

As to how to apply this to my own practice, well, hmm… In the past, Tyr has called me on my privilege, which is obviously valuable, but has told me not to seek Him directly because the angle from which I understand Justice – as Fairness – is not His, but belongs instead to Forseti and Freyr. It’s a pertinent distinction, but one that can be very hard to take. Sometimes Rightness isn’t pretty, isn’t lovely, doesn’t seem fair.

I know how I want to give when giving is my privilege, but what do I take when I’m not the one who has enough to share? It’s very easy to say that I know what the very rich should do, but those very rich aren’t my allies right now, and I can’t control their behavior, only my own. What will we not-rich do?

I am generally prepared to understand my role from the privileged perspective. I am comfortable with the need to understand that my own treatment of people less privileged than I am should be generous, kind, compassionate, and fair. That’s comparatively easy to assert. But what am I prepared to do to confront those who are as or more privileged than I am, but don’t behave so well? And what is fair – or when not fair, what is right – for me to do when I am the one being marginalized? What do I do when what is right is not fair, or when neither right nor fair are what’s safe and effective?

It’s very easy for me to say what I should do when I am the one with enough to share, when I am the one with the power, how I should use my power, my resources, for others’ sake, even if it’s not always so easy to actually follow through on my highest ideals. But it’s never so easy for me to discern how to guide others when we have so little influence on those with the power and resources. How do I guide my poor and marginalized congregants? Because yes, as clergy,  part of my job IS to guide others. But I can’t do that well if I don’t know where to go next myself.

–Ember–

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About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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2 Responses to Binding Wolves is Not Enough

  1. Kaisular says:

    ” But what am I prepared to do to confront those who are as or more privileged than I am, but don’t behave so well? And what is fair – or when not fair, what is right – for me to do when I am the one being marginalized? What do I do when what is right is not fair, or when neither right nor fair are what’s safe and effective?”

    I think about this one a lot. Techically it shouldn’t have to be my job to call people on their own bullshit But in other ways it is because I can.

    Like

    • EmberVoices says:

      Well, since I’m one of those kind of people who has the Luck Child/Bard’s Tongue/Fool/Trickster/Thingy role, calling the Emperor out for being naked is something I’m well aware IS my job. But I’ve gotten into more than a little trouble for it over the years, so I have to push myself to do it when it’s not just coming tumbling out of its own accord when I’m not paying close attention and Somebody Else has an opinion.

      If that makes any sense.
      -E-

      Like

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